The Mariners Managed A Surprisingly Dominant Series Win Over The Astros

If anything seemed unlikely to happen after the Mariners lost a series to the lowly Athletics, it was these very same Mariners turning right around and winning a series against the first place Astros. Yet, lo and behold, there it happened. And, not only that, but very nearly a series sweep!

While I was away, splashing around at the Great Wolf Lodge (and probably getting myself sick in the process, but it’s a small price to pay for family fun and entertainment), the Mariners put up some very impressive performances. What’s irked me so far this year is that we’re not super timely, in that I mean when the pitching is dominant, the hitting is also pretty good. But, when the hitting is bad, the pitching is also kind of mediocre; thus our losing record through two months of the season.

On Friday, we got 7 innings of 1-run ball out of Chris Flexen; he sprinked around 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 6. I’m going to go ahead and say that based on opponent, it was easily his best performance of the year. Flexen has been adequate to good at times this year, but usually the offense falls on its face, so it was nice to see the Mariners jack so many homers to win it 6-1. Nevertheless, this kind of start would’ve been better placed in one of those earlier games where the offense wasn’t quite so strong. Then again, beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.

Julio Rodriguez and Kyle Lewis each hit 2-run bombs, while Ty France and the newly called up Taylor Trammell hit solo homers to give us all the offense we needed. This was all the more impressive considering Justin Verlander was on the hill opposite us, who gave up all 6 of those runs in his 6 innings of work. Outstanding!

Not to be outdone, the Saturday Mariners won 6-0, in a rare shutout victory for our side. Logan Gilbert, again, had easily the best start of his season, going 7 shutout innings, giving up 4 hits while striking out 5. The difference between him and Flexen is that he’s been performing at a high level all year. Nevertheless, this was true ace shit Gilbert was dealing with, not to mention it’s his third straight game of 7 innings. When you consider he’s still on something of a pitch count in his young career, I don’t know what more you can say. Gilbert is the real deal!

We saw another Kyle Lewis homer in this one. That’s two in back-to-back days, with a day off on Sunday (spoiler alert). The team is being extra cautious with him, which I like. Because, at this point, it’s abundantly clear we need his bat in the lineup as many days as possible. If that’s only 4 out of 7 days, so be it. That beats the hell out of whoever the fuck being in the lineup 7 out of 7 days.

The offense as a whole was strong in this one yet again, with 13 hits, only a day after notching 10 hits. That would not last (again, spoiler alert), but I’ll take as many promising developments as I can get (another one being that after a rough first couple of weeks down in Tacoma, Jared Kelenic is finally starting to look like the hitter we know he is, at least against PCL opponents).

Our 2-1 defeat on Sunday was not due to Marco Gonzales, who kept the outstanding start train rolling, going 7.2 innings, giving up 2 runs (though, it should be noted that Paul Sewald gave up the second – inherited – run, and thus was unable to do his job of keeping the game tied in a sticky situation, which has otherwise been his M.O. since the start of last year). Marco’s been a little up and down this year, but I still feel like he keeps us in ballgames more often than not. He does need a better offense – and for our defense to play up to its abilities – to be a truly great starting pitcher. Hopefully in 2023, things will finally come together for him. I feel like he’s damn near a 20-game winner on a team with a high-functioning offense.

There, unsurprisingly, wasn’t a lot of offense in this one. Ty France had the lone RBI, and is a manimal against pretty much anyone you put out there against him. Unfortunately, it gets to be pretty bare bones at the bottom of the lineup, especially when Kyle Lewis needs to sit. Mitch Haniger can’t return soon enough. This was proven in the bottom of the ninth when we loaded the bases, only for Luis Torrens to hit into a game-ending double play. Can’t have that. For one thing, with better hitters returning, you’d like to think you won’t need the Torrenses of the world covering your ass. But, also Torrens needs to be better. What hitter doesn’t relish that opportunity? Be a professional hitter and get that fucking runner home!

There was a holiday off-day yesterday as the M’s flew back across the country to face Baltimore in a 3-game set. They’re pretty much as bad as we are, so we should at least have a fighting chance the next few days.

Have The Mariners Now Hit A New Low For This Season?

Losing 2 of 3 to the lowly Oakland A’s – a team everyone keeps telling me “isn’t even trying to win” – to drop to last place in the A.L. West at 18-27, tied for the fifth-worst record in all of baseball, sure does feel like Rock Bottom. I guess we could’ve been swept by those same A’s, but the season is still relatively early and we still have five more series to play against them.

I can kind of understand why we bring in these hitters – this year, it’s Jesse Winker, for instance – and they struggle right off the bat and also forevermore. Seattle’s a tough place to play. Odds are you’re far away from your home, or at least where you’d ideally rather be living (though, make no mistake, the few homegrown locals we manage to bring back here also struggle just the same). The ballpark – even with the fences brought in a few years back – is a tough place to hit, what with the marine layer knocking down potential homers and an outfield that’s decidedly unfriendly to doubles hitters. Then, there’s just the stigma of multiple decades of hitters coming here and sucking (save Nelson Cruz, who is a magical creature, and we damn well didn’t appreciate him enough when he was here), infecting the fragile psyches of guys ill-equipped for the mental rigors of wearing that Mariners uniform and being absorbed into our organization of utter mediocrity. It can be a lot. I don’t envy any hitter who is brought here against his will and forced to play for such dysfunction.

Same goes for hitting prospects we bring in here, who would be sure-fire All Stars for any other organization. They have all of the above, plus the indignity of having to “learn” from a collection of hitting coaches throughout all levels that are and always have been completely and totally inept at their jobs. Only the Mariners could fuck up a sure thing like Jared Kelenic. It is our destiny.

But, what I don’t understand is why certain pitchers come here and revert back into pumpkins. Robbie Ray was a legitimate free agent prize this past offseason, coming off of a Cy Young Award. How is he so hittable?! How is his stuff so pedestrian?! For someone with as much strikeout potential as he has, he seems to also dump a lot of meatballs right down the middle; it’s infuriating.

And yet, I’m supposed to sit here and feel glad because Julio Rodriguez looks like the real deal right out of the gate? Wow, I guess 1 out of 30 fucking hitting prospects isn’t bad, huh? Is this what it’s come to?

I’m NOT glad, because it’s not that hard to find one fucking stud prospect to be the face of your franchise. The Mariners ALWAYS have one stud. Before Julio, we had Felix. Before Felix, we had Ichiro. Before Ichiro, we had A-Rod and Edgar and Griffey (you know, all those teams you hear about ad nauseam, because that’s literally the only fucking time the Mariners were ever fucking good). Felix and Ichiro account for most of the last two decades, but what did we ever do to build winners around them? Jack Shit. We did a lot of half measures and panic deals when we thought we were close, only to fall short time and time and time and time and time and time and time and time again.

So, great, we have one stud again. Julio. Is he going to single-handedly win us a title? How’s Mike Trout doing down in Anaheim? Lots of playoff glory under his belt?

What’s most infuriating – as I’ve said before – is the fact that 2022 isn’t even all that important in the grand scheme of things. This year was supposed to be about further building up the young guys. Getting them experience, and getting them used to the rigors of facing other Major Leaguers. But, guys like Kelenic and Raleigh and Brash and Toro and on and on down the line are fucking SUCK-ING!

It’s also, not for nothing, kind of obnoxious that the bullpen is who we thought it was. Regression away from the unsustainable heights of 2021. Just so fucking predictable. If it’s something some dimwit like yours truly can easily warn you about ahead of time, it’s as fucking hack as it gets. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. But, the likes of Drew Steckenrider and Diego Castillo have turned me into some sort of prophet with their horseshit performances.

God damn this fucking team. God damn them for getting our hopes up and shitting the bed like so many Johnny Depp cocaine parties. It’s the end of May and I’m pissed off beyond all rationality, so in other words, right on time.

I fucking hate the Mariners. Why do we put ourselves through this?

The Seahawks Signed Marquise Goodwin For Added Wide Receiver Depth

This is a move I was clamoring for a few years ago. I was a big fan of Goodwin from his days with the 49ers, but of course he’s had a number of injuries that have limited him. The talent is there! Or, at least, it was. I don’t know if it still is. He didn’t play during 2020 for COVID reasons, then he played for the Bears last year with a rookie QB and an Andy Dalton. So, I honestly couldn’t tell you what he has left in the tank.

As far as depth guys go, you could probably do worse. I still kinda like the move, even though obviously the Seahawks seem pretty well set at the top 3-4 spots. Lockett and Metcalf are your primary targets. Freddie Swain is your 3rd/4th option. Dee Eskridge is heading into his second season (after not doing much in 2021), then there are the two rookies who will compete with holdovers like Penny Hart, Aaron Fuller, Cade Johnson, and the like.

Among all the guys after Metcalf and Lockett, I don’t think anyone really projects as the kind of speedy deep threat that Goodwin is, when he’s healthy. It’ll just be a matter of whether or not he can stay healthy through training camp and the pre-season.

Of course, as I mentioned up top, this would’ve been a better move a few years ago, when we had Russell Wilson dropping dimes. Neither Geno Smith nor Drew Lock have the kind of deep ball accuracy that will actually pay this move off. In which case, barring a fluke, it actually kind of seems like Goodwin is a longshot to make the team. It’ll nevertheless be fun to see him running around out there in games that don’t matter.

The Mariners Fell Apart While I Was In A Mexican Paradise

I mean, to be fair, the Mariners were already in a pretty bad place before I left, but I believe they only won one out of five games while I was travelling.

I didn’t write about the Blue Jays or the Red Sox series, since I was flying out Wednesday morning and didn’t get home until last night, but suffice it to say I have no interest in rehashing them game by game. For those two series, the M’s went 1-6. For the road trip, the M’s went 3-7 (somehow winning 2 of 3 against the best team they played, the Mets). For the month of May, the M’s are 6-15. And since our season’s peak – when we were 11-6 way back on April 26th – the M’s have gone a miserable 6-19.

The season is falling apart. Smartasses like to point to how bad the M’s were in the month of May last year – when we still ended up winning 90 games – but you can’t deny this feels different (especially since last year’s Mariners squad were able to salvage a 13-15 record in the month of May after their short dark stretch). Mitch Haniger is out until July. Jared Kelenic is in Tacoma and his future in the organization feels very tenuous at this point (the interview last week with Jason A. Churchill on the Mitch Unfiltered podcast paints a particularly bleak picture where Kelenic might spend most of the year in Tacoma before maybe getting called back up in September … unless the Mariners totally fall apart and have no excuse but to promote him and try to salvage his career here). Kyle Lewis looks like he’s on the cusp of returning, but it looks like his knees are so ravaged he’ll never be a full time outfielder, and may not even be a part time outfielder (he might have to DH exclusively if he wants to stay healthy enough to contribute most every day). Matt Brash has already been demoted and turned into a reliever. Cal Raleigh is only up here because Tom Murphy is injured (and he just re-aggravated his condition, making his return to the big club TBD). Ken Giles is God knows where. Jesse Winker is still playing at a sub-replacement level, as is Luis Torrens. We just signed Justin Upton and sent him to our extended spring training, after he’d been on the market the entire season thanks to the Angels DFA’ing him; he’s been terrible for three straight years now, so this seems like a futile desperation move (albeit one that comes with no risk whatsoever).

Meanwhile, as I pointed out, the Mariners are in a freefall and can’t catch a break. They can’t even luck into a win here and there! We’ve apparently used up all of our Fun Differential in that magical 2021 season (you remember, the one that – yet again – saw us miss the playoffs) and have none left over for future seasons. Now there’s just Gun In Mouth Differential, and it’s going through the roof!

In this young season, we’ve already been shutout 6 times; we were shutout 8 times in all of 2021. We’re 10 games out of first place at the moment; the most we were out of first place in all of 2021 was 9 games. And, we don’t even get the relief of having an off-day after the massacre that was an extra-innings defeat at the hands of the Red Sox yesterday. We have to fly across the country to return home and face the A’s, another bottom-feeder, but that doesn’t matter at this point. We don’t get a rest day until Thursday; what’s our reward following that? Another fucking series against the Astros, who are red hot and have reclaimed their rightful spot in first place in the A.L. West.

I don’t know what to tell you. Normally, I’d say football season starts in a few months, but what’s the point? All we can do is root for the Seahawks (and Broncos) to lose as many games as possible, which means even our victories are going to be annoying. Husky football is rebuilding. Husky basketball looks like it’s about to be in shambles again. The NBA still hasn’t announced the return of the Supersonics. And the Kraken seem to be going nowhere fast.

Seattle is Sports Hell once again! Boy do I love when I can tie it all back to the name of the blog. It really makes the space come alive!

The Kraken’s Miserable First Season Ended With Little-To-No Payoff

I’ll be the first to admit I dipped out pretty hard on the Kraken, right around the very beginning of the season when they lost four in a row. I was always aware of when games were going on – following key entities on Twitter made sure of that – but it seemed like 90% bad news whenever something popped up.

The season concluded on May 1st, with the Kraken falling to 27-49-6. That was good for the third-worst record in the NHL (had we won that game, it would’ve been the fourth-worst record, and highly annoying to boot). After having the third-best odds heading into last year’s draft lottery – and winning the second overall draft pick – there was at least some hope that maybe a little good luck might finally shine down upon us with another pick in the top 2.

Instead, the Kraken had the misfortune of getting the 4th overall draft pick. That’s highly annoying in its own right, as just nothing could fucking go right for this organization this past season.

The expansion draft didn’t fill our roster with very many players of immediate positive impact. We ended up dealing a number of guys ahead of the trade deadline – including our “big get” of the expansion draft, Mark Giordano – for extra picks in the upcoming draft. Our “big get” in free agency – goalie Philipp Grubauer – sucked for reasons that aren’t totally clear (either he’s not good, or the team around him was so terrible that his numbers flailed, but regardless, he did nothing to pick this team up on his back at any point this year).

The only positive you could possibly point to is our #2 overall draft pick – Matty Beniers – joined the team after finishing his college season, and did look like a future star in the making. But, I don’t know who exactly is worth a damn besides him, so we’ll see what that’s worth.

It’s hard to understand what the plan is, exactly. It seems like the front office is taking the long view on this organization. Does that mean they always intended to throw this season away? I really worry about the level of scouting and the decision-making at the top – especially when it comes to the expansion draft – because where are the diamonds in the rough? Who among them will be around for the first truly great Kraken squad? Maybe Jared McCann (who led the team in points), maybe Yanni Gourde (second in points, second in assists), maybe Vince Dunn (tops in assists). I dunno, we’ll see I guess.

Who besides Beniers was worth a damn from last year’s entry draft? Will any of them develop into NHL players? If you’re not one of the top one or two guys in any given entry draft, are you more of a coin flip or a lottery ticket? Are we talking 50/50 that you pan out, or is it more like one in a million?

This upcoming draft figures to be pretty important, since we made so many moves to add extra picks; is this a good crop of players we’re looking forward to? One would hope we have a good amount of money to put towards free agency; is that accurate? And, are there free agents out there who can come in and make an impact?

I’d also be curious to know where fan interest is at right now. Were games still well-attended by season’s end? How were television ratings? I’m sure the hardcore hockey fans stuck with it, and would have much more insight into matters than I do. But, I bet a lot more people are casual fans at best; were the other people like me still remotely interested in the product on the ice?

Seattle is a front-runner town. If you’re not winning, you’re not drawing eyeballs. That’s how it is in most cities, so I don’t want to make it sound like I’m ragging on the northwest for no reason. But, we really don’t have a huge, entrenched hockey fanbase. Not compared to football, basketball, or baseball. I’d say even soccer had a bigger base when the Sounders first hit the scene, and that’s pretty much a model organization when it comes to increasing local interest among the fair-weathered.

I don’t think the Kraken can settle for a slew of last place finishes over the next few years; they need to start being competitive pretty soon here. Otherwise, I have to imagine heads will roll. I didn’t get the sense that this coaching staff was much of a value-add. When you factor in the scouts and general manager probably not having the longest leash after the embarrassment that was the expansion draft, we’ll see how patient this ownership group will be. I know the arena wasn’t cheap.

Everyone’s convinced the Supersonics will return sooner rather than later. The Kraken have until that moment to carve out its niche in this sports market before everyone goes crazy for the NBA again. At that point, with two competing winter sports, even with the NHL returning to this market first, the Kraken will be far and away the little brother in this arena timeshare, as far as fan interest is concerned.

So, my advice would be to do better. A LOT BETTER. Win over the idiots like me and you might have a chance.

Could The Seahawks Be Okay At Quarterback?

Recently, I wrote about the Seahawks roster at every position other than quarterback. The conclusion I came to was that there’s potential for improvement, but still probably too many holes to fill in this one offseason. If enough draft picks and whatnot pan out, maybe we can head into 2023 and do enough damage in free agency to lift us back into the playoffs.

My take on the quarterback position, however, is that the guys we’ve got on the roster right now should be bad enough to help us tank for a quality draft pick next year, at which point we should go all in on a rookie QB to be our next franchise player. But, what this blog post presupposes is … maybe we don’t?

Okay, not quite. But, there’s been this concept that’s been gnawing at the back of my mind for a while now. The 2018 Los Angeles Rams went to the Super Bowl with Jared Goff at quarterback. What we’ve come to learn about Jared Goff since he was drafted first overall in 2016 is that he’s not as terrible as he showed in that rookie season. Of course, that was under the tenure of Jeff Fisher; Sean McVay was hired going into the 2017 season. What we also know about Goff, however, is that he’s not as good as his two (?!) Pro Bowl seasons either. McVay essentially declared he can’t win it all with Goff under center.

Yet, the system was good enough to get them all the way to the very end with a mediocre QB like Goff. That’s obviously intriguing to us as Seahawks fans.

Because here we are, with Shane Waldron as our offensive coordinator, looking to run something very similar to the system McVay installed with the Rams. And, here we also are, with Drew Lock and Geno Smith, mediocre quarterbacks just as Goff has been.

These aren’t apples-to-apples comparisons, though. Waldron is, obviously, a diluted form of McVay; McVay is largely seen as an offensive genius, and someone who might be “The Next Bill Belichick”. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he does seem to be one of the top five-or-so head coaches in the NFL right now. And, I think it’s fair to say Lock and Smith haven’t shown to be anywhere near as competent as Goff, though obviously Lock is younger and less experienced (in other words, he very well could be as competent as Goff, we just haven’t seen him in a Rams-style offensive system yet).

What it boils down to is this: how reliable is this Rams system? Once you know the ins and outs, can literally anyone run it? Or, does it take the finesse and knowledge of a McVay to make it function as it should (to say nothing of a quarterback as capable as Stafford to push through as world champions)?

If it’s just a rock-solid system and anyone can do it, then I think I’m not out of bounds when I say Drew Lock could appear to be better than expected, as early as this season. If Jared Goff can take the Rams to the Super Bowl, why couldn’t Drew Lock take the Seahawks to the playoffs (especially when they let in three wild card teams now)? We’d need the defense to make huge leaps in development, and we’d probably have to rely more on our running game than the Rams ever have under McVay, but I don’t think it’s batshit crazy to come to this conclusion.

Look, am I saying it’s likely? Absolutely not. The smart money is totally and completely on the Seahawks to NOT make the playoffs in 2022. And, in fact, I don’t want them to, because what would be the point? We’re never winning a Super Bowl with Lock or Smith under center, no matter how good the roster is around them, or how good the scheme could potentially be. While the Seahawks will never actively try to tank, I hope a series of misfortunes befalls this team week after week after week, until we’re left with two picks in the top five (because I also hope a series of misfortunes befalls the Broncos to a similar degree). I’m talking injuries, I’m talking hail marys going against the Seahawks/Broncos, I’m talking about an unsustainably terrible record in one-score games. I want all of it. I want these to be the two unluckiest and most inept teams in all of football. THAT is my dream.

Not a Drew Lock-led Seahawks team squeaking in as a seventh seed only to lose in the Wild Card round.

The Mariners Are Trying To Get Their Season Back On Track With A Series Win Over The Mets

This probably represents the best the Mariners have played over a three-game series this entire season, given the level of competition and our own fan expectations heading into the weekend. We were a couple of breaks away from sweeping this one! Of course, as it is against any quality opponent, we were also probably a couple of breaks away from getting swept. That’s baseball for you; it’s maddening.

It would figure that the only game I saw a significant portion of was on Saturday, when we lost. I was at a concert on Friday, so could only follow along via Twitter. Those who watched must’ve been treated to a delightful pitching duel! Max Scherzer was his usual strong self, going 7 innings, giving up 1 run. But, Marco Gonzales damn near matched him, giving up 1 run in 6.2 innings. The fact that he gave up his run in the first makes the subsequent shutdown all the more impressive.

Our offense managed to manufacture a run in the fourth and again in the eighth to seal the deal in a 2-1 affair. Winker and France had RBI singles; Crawford and Suarez had our only other hits. Meanwhile, Paul Sewald got four outs without giving up a run, and Drew Steckenrider got his second save of the season.

On Saturday, George Kirby wasn’t quite as dominant as his first start, but the defense behind him also let the team down, so who’s to say who deserves more of the blame? Kirby went 4 innings, giving up 3 runs (1 earned) off of 3 hits and a walk, with only 1 strikeout. The M’s were down 4-0 heading into the sixth inning before our offense was finally able to get going.

Newcomer Steven Souza – who was pretty free-swinging in this one, from what I saw – had an RBI single in the sixth for his first hit in a Mariners uniform. He’s here to keep right field warm while Jared Kelenic goes down to Tacoma to get his head (and bat) right, so best not to expect too much. He does have more experience than I thought he would (having never heard of him before), kicking around the Majors since 2014. Of course, the Rays got the most out of him, with a 4.2 WAR season in 2017. Hard to see him getting back to those lofty heights while playing in Seattle.

The big story was a Jesse Winker 3-run bomb in the top of the seventh, to temporarily tie the game at 4-4. The Mets pitching was pretty strong to this point, but we finally broke through against their bullpen. Like the Mariners, Winker is also trying to get his season on track; it’s weird to see how much Mets fans hate him. Presumably because he always kills them? Too bad for him we’re done playing them for the year.

As I mentioned, the tie was short-lived, as Andres Munoz gave up a go-ahead solo homer in the bottom half of the inning. We would go on to lose the game by that very score, 5-4. France, Crawford, and Suarez all had nice days at the plate in this one as well. Not to mention Torrens, who got on base with 2 hits and 2 walks, to drastically improve his slash line.

I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for Sunday’s finale, so I opted to re-watch most of season two of Stranger Things instead. I ended up missing one of the craziest wins of the year! Robbie Ray, once again, was spotty in this one, going 6 innings, giving up 5 runs, but striking out 9 and generating lots of swings and misses.

The Mets went up 1-0 with a solo homer in the first, then the M’s tied it in the third. We went up 4-1 in the fourth off of an impressive rally, but then promptly found ourselves down 5-4 in the bottom half of the inning. That took us to the absurd sixth inning, where Julio Rodriguez hit a massive solo homer to tie it, only to be out-done by Cal Raleigh’s 2-run go-ahead bomb. Julio added an RBI single in the seventh to put the M’s up 8-5, and we would need every bit of that 3-run lead.

Romo and Sewald got us to the ninth with a 3-run lead, but Drew Steckenrider – having a VERY up and down year – struggled to get the lone out he got, while giving up 4 hits and 2 runs. That left Scott Servais in the very unenviable position of throwing Diego Castillo out there, who has been unquestionably terrible of late. Yet, with runners on second and third, he managed to get two strikeouts – sandwiched around an intentional walk – to lock down the win 8-7.

Today, we go to Toronto. We’ve been told ahead of time that there will be certain Mariners unable to play this week, as they’re not allowed into Canada due to COVID restrictions. So that’s fun. We’re already pretty injury depleted, and the Blue Jays have a tremendous offense, so I’m expecting a total shitshow. Thankfully, it’s only three games, and hopefully this rest will do the unvaccinated players some good.

The Seahawks’ 2022 Schedule Is Out, In Case Anyone Cares

I don’t usually care about NFL Schedule Release Day, but I care even less in 2022. Not that Russell Wilson by himself ever equalled the Seahawks being a Super Bowl Contender, but you could at least delude yourself into the possibilities, if everything broke right. On a good team, he’s certainly someone who could lead you there (as he proved twice in his career); our problem was that the team around him was never quite good enough, and he was never quite good enough to fully carry us on his back.

Anyway, without Wilson, the Seahawks’ schedule release seems especially pointless. Here it is, for anyone who still gives a shit:

  • Week 1 – vs. Broncos (MNF)
  • Week 2 – @ 49ers
  • Week 3 – vs. Falcons
  • Week 4 – @ Lions (10am)
  • Week 5 – @ Saints (10am)
  • Week 6 – vs. Cardinals
  • Week 7 – @ Chargers
  • Week 8 – vs. N.Y. Giants
  • Week 9 – @ Cardinals
  • Week 10 – @ Buccaneers (Germany)
  • Week 11 – BYE
  • Week 12 – vs. Raiders
  • Week 13 – @ Rams
  • Week 14 – vs. Panthers
  • Week 15 – vs. 49ers (TNF)
  • Week 16 – @ Chiefs (10am)
  • Week 17 – vs. N.Y. Jets
  • Week 18 – vs. Rams

Just the two primetime games; one on Thursday (which every team in the NFL gets) and the week 1 Monday Night Football matchup against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. That’s interesting, I guess. I’m sure I’ll be a lot more jacked up about it that week, but for now I’m just kinda meh. Seems like a game we’re sure to lose, which is probably a good thing.

Only three 10am games, though of course we have a 6:30am start time for the game in Germany. I’m honestly WAY more excited about that one; who doesn’t like waking up super early in the morning to watch their favorite team get blown out in another continent?!

I would normally love the late BYE week, and the home-loaded last 8 weeks (including that BYE). In that span, we only leave the pacific time zone once. But, of course, it’s not like we’ll be contending for the playoffs or anything, so why get excited?

Did you see the hilarious pre-season schedule? Not only do the Seahawks fly FAR AND AWAY the most air miles of any team in the NFL, but they also have to go to Dallas and Pittsburgh in two meaningless games in the pre-season. Because, apparently, since we’re playing the AFC West this year, we’re not allowed to play them again in the pre-season? So, instead of short trips to Vegas and Los Angeles, we have to go across the country to Pittsburgh and Dallas. That’s just insane.

If I’m to sit here and predict wins and losses, I’d say we should beat the Falcons, we could probably take the Lions, the Giants should be pushovers, I like our chances against the Panthers and Jets, and probably give us a win against the Cards and 49ers. That’s 7-10 for those counting at home. Yep, that feels right. Not bad enough for a top 5 pick, but maybe we just crack the top 10. If we’re lucky.

So, that’s it. See you in August. Except whenever I get a hankering to write about football, which is still pretty regularly.

The Mariners Lost Another Series, Still Can’t Hit

Did you know the Mariners have already been shut out five times this year, including most recently on Monday against the Phillies in an embarrassing 9-0 rout? We’ve played all of 32 games so far this year, so you probably had some sort of inkling that the number was rather high. Did you know, though, that over a full 162-game season last year, the Mariners were shut out only eight times?

Of course, the 2021 Mariners were fun and interesting; the 2022 Mariners are abysmal and largely boring in how bad they’ve been. We’ve seen this same exact punchless team repeatedly over the last decade and a half, and it’s getting fucking old. They even moved the fences in during that span, seemingly to no avail. It’s their inability to properly develop their young hitters – to say nothing of somehow also ruining the established veterans they manage to bring in – that’s the ultimate culprit. The fences could be 30 yards away from home plate and they’d still manage to flail more often than not.

The 2021 Mariners also had 10 shutout victories, while the 2022 M’s have zero. The most games back of first place they were in 2021 was 5.0; we’re already at 6.5 games behind the Angels and that figures to only get worse. Most telling, perhaps, is our record in 1-run games; last year, we were 33-19 (for a .635 winning percentage) and this year we’re 5-5 (an even .500). There’s no magic, no spark, no juice. These 2022 Mariners are rolling over like so many Jesse Winker groundouts.

As I’ve noted repeatedly, J.P. Crawford and Ty France are the only two guys propping up this offense. Finally, Adam Frazier is starting to pull his weight, having raised his slash line to a respectable .270/.346/.377 (that’s FAR more in line with his career norms). And, as we’ve all been giddy about over the last week or so, Julio Rodriguez is really starting to look like the superstar we were all promised. Between those four guys and the dynamic injury duo of Mitch Haniger (who likely won’t return until July now) and Kyle Lewis (who is in the midst of a AAA stint that is doubling as his own personal Spring Training, which will almost certainly lead to a re-aggravation any day now), we might be onto something with this offense.

With the dynamic injury duo out of commission, and with the rest of the lineup being what it is, we’re essentially fucked.

Eugenio Suarez is who we thought he was, which might be okay if he’s batting 8th in the lineup. But, for pretty much the whole year, he’s been batting in the top 5, and for a guy barely scraping a .200 batting average, that’s not going to cut it.

Words can’t express how disgruntled I am with Jesse Winker. Everyone keeps saying he’s going to turn it around, but I think Safeco T-Mobile is in his head, and it’s extending his slump to every other stadium we play in. I’m not expecting him to ever turn it around, and this trade with the Reds will go down as one of the all-time disasters.

Raleigh, Kelenic, and Toro just aren’t Major League hitters, period. They’re clearly too good for the wasteland that is AAA, but that’s not saying a whole lot. Maybe they would be Major League hitters if they weren’t saddled with this Mariners organization, but that doesn’t do us much good now, does it? Because we, as fans, ARE saddled with this Mariners organization, and we’re forced to sit helpless as prospect after promising prospect goes down in flames thanks to the litany of issues and deficiencies they’ve got to overcome.

What really gets me is, once again, Luis Torrens has fallen into a slump of all slumps. Last year, he was sent down to Tacoma, figured it out, and returned to be a pretty productive member of this offense. Now, he’s right back to sucking as he did before and it’s all just so baffling to me.

And, it’s not like these guys are running into buzzsaw after buzzsaw. Sure, opposing bullpens have been pretty stout, but the starters haven’t been anything special. And the Phillies’ starters have been downright atrocious! These are the types of arms this struggling Mariners offense should be “getting right” against. Instead, they’re making these guys look like Justin Verlander!

I don’t have the energy to get into my gripes with the pitching, but suffice it to say, no one is really stepping up and helping out the offense. Chris Flexen had his worst outing of the year on Monday, giving up 6 runs in 5 innings. And, Diego Castillo’s freefall continued in that same game. In 3 appearances in the month of May, he’s pitched all of 1.0 innings while giving up 9 runs. DISASTER!

It was nice to see Robbie Ray bounce back on Tuesday, pitching 5.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 10. The 5-4 victory was only as close as it was because Paul Sewald gave up a meaningless solo homer while getting the 4-out save.

The Mariners had a chance to win the series in the Wednesday matinee, but Logan Gilbert had “one bad inning”, this time on “one bad pitch” that just so happened to result in a grand slam for the Phillies. We lost 4-2. Something tells me Gilbert won’t be the Pitcher of the Month of May.

Now, we’re 14-18 and embark on a crazy 10-games-in-10-days road trip to play the red hot Mets, the offensive powerhouse Blue Jays, and the struggling-but-probably-still-better-than-us Red Sox. I’m expecting something in the realm of a 2-8 record in this span, so watch us actually hold our own and come away with a 6-4 record.

My Two Cents On The Transfer Portal & NIL

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I understand the ins and outs of these two huge, significant issues in college athletics (presumably just college football and basketball), but I don’t know if a lot of people really take the time to research these topics before spouting off about them either. So, why not me?!

I think one thing is pretty clear: college athletics is broken. It’s always been broken, though. Put me in the camp of the kids have been exploited for generations, earning billions upon billions of dollars for schools and the NCAA, while the benefits of a college scholarship don’t outweigh how these kids have been chewed up and churned through over the years.

So, at the very least, the NIL has been a long time coming. Let a kid make money off of his name, image, and likeness; what the fuck does the NCAA care? I don’t have the problem with it that a lot of people do.

I know one of the arguments against it has to do with certain schools – and certain conferences – having an unfair advantage, by having boosters who are willing to over-spend to bring in the best talent. But, those unfair advantages have been around since the beginning. Now, instead of money being slid under tables, it’s out in the open (to a bigger degree; I don’t think it’ll ever be truly transparent). The NIL thing isn’t a perfect system, and I can’t even say with any certainty that it’s better than what we had before, but it’s arguably on the right track.

My concern is that we’ll never get college athletics to the point where it should be, where it’s just a semipro league for football and basketball, with contracts and salary caps and actual fucking oversight into where all the money is coming from and where it’s going. College athletics before was the wild west, and instead of becoming more civilized, NIL has made things more out of control than ever.

What bums me out is the transfer portal. I’m not against it in theory, but in practice it just sucks the joy out of being a fan.

It’s one thing to sign with a school, then that coach moves on, and you decide to opt out because you never agreed to play for whoever is coming in. And I get the frustration from a kid who’s riding the pine and wants to go somewhere where he can actually see some action. But, now it’s morphed into this yearly excuse for players to leave on a whim. And worse, it’s morphed into coaches needing to not only recruit newcomers, but to recruit their own guys (while coaches also recruit other school’s players to get them to flip).

There was too hard a line before: where, if you left a school, you had to sit out a full year. But, now it’s too soft, and literally everyone is up for grabs.

As a Husky basketball fan, I’ve experienced the highs and lows of this new system. In the 2020/2021 season, the Huskies were as bad as I’ve ever seen them. Following that lost year, a bunch of players departed, and it was absolutely for the best: they all stunk. This was addition by subtraction to the perfect degree. Mike Hopkins was able to bring in a bunch of players through the transfer portal, and the 2021/2022 season was far more enjoyable as a result. I mean, granted, it’s not like we made any sort of post-season tournament. But, we were far more competitive and fun during the regular season, and sometimes that’s enough.

What’s more, it sort of felt like we were on the right track. Maybe, with a few key additions, we COULD parlay that into a return to the Big Dance. Sure, it was always going to be something of a longshot, but it wasn’t crazy to dream that dream.

Then, recently, word came down that Emmitt Matthews was departing. He was one of those transfer portal guys we brought back home last season; after the one year, he’s returning to West Virginia, for reasons that I don’t fully understand. He was a starter and a key player for the Huskies. He was set to continue being a starter, as we really didn’t bring in anyone to vie for his minutes. He was great in our system and had room to grow.

Probably, from his perspective, if his goal is to win – and to get more eyeballs on his game – he has a better chance on the Mountaineers. I guess I get that. But, this isn’t a fucking Baskin Robbins where you stand there tasting all of the 31 flavors! Fucking pick a school and stick with it! Clearly there was a reason why you left West Virginia in the first place; what makes you think it’s going to be good now?

I’m just sad and pissed off. The difference between an NCAA Tourney berth or not isn’t Emmitt Matthews; he’s a role player. But, he was one of my favorite Huskies to root for last year, and I’m annoyed that he opted to leave. If the NCAA had proper contracts for players, you wouldn’t see this as often, and you wouldn’t see other schools sniffing around trying to poach your guys.

I’m not mad at anyone in particular. The players have the right, the coaches are only doing their jobs by enabling boosters or whoever to go and recruit players from other teams; this is the system that’s in place and everyone who can take advantage WILL take advantage. I’m just mad at the system, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

And, the thing is, it’s only going to get worse. I don’t think I’ll ever see a day where the Washington Huskies are national champions in football or men’s basketball. That’s kind of a bummer. That’s not just because of the transfer portal or NIL, but those things certainly play a part. It’s just hard to adjust your expectations. You look at the professional sports leagues and can see a reasonable path to a championship one day. Hell, if the Cincinnati Bengals can make a Super Bowl, then ANYONE in ANY pro league can do it. Even the lousy, fakakta Mariners.

But, not the Huskies. The best we can possibly hope for is a conference championship. Yet, who’s confident we’re going to get there with Mike Hopkins, or this new coaching staff for the football team? You mean the guy from Fresno, and before that some Dakota school? Oh yeah, I’m sure he’s the next Nick Saban just waiting to happen.